A parenting & lifestyle blog written by Claire Chircop.

SEEING ME AS ME, NOT JUST AS A MOTHER.

It's taken me a long time, but now when I look in the mirror I no longer see Amelia's mum, I'm seeing me... And it feels amazing! Scratch that!... It feels f*cking amazing!

Claire smiling. Embracing who she is as herself, not just as a mother.

I lost myself to motherhood since welcoming my daughter into the world back in December 2018 & sadly, I don't think it's uncommon. We put so much of ourselves into caring for our children, I think even more so as first time mums, that it's so easy for us to forget who we are.

Us as people.

As human beings.

Not as mothers!

It's strange because I never really realised it at the time. I suppose as a new mum you don't really have time to do anything else other than protect & care for that miniature version of yourself. You instantly get pushed to the back of the line. I felt like I had to do it all, I was the primary care giver for my child, I ran the house, had my side hustle & even managed to keep the dog alive during that time too. Four seemingly simple tasks, but when put together, I was lucky if I got 5 minutes to pee in peace.

I've been through a bit of a transformation and journey of self discovery this year (even though we all know 2020 is cancelled due to corona right?) Returning to work after maternity leave played a big initial part in this, I was back doing what pre-baby Claire did, I was interacting with actual adult human beings who weren't asking me if my daughter had pooped that day, or if she'd finally managed to eat a full meal. I was even making new friends! It was bliss!

The old me was coming back.

I'd been mourning my pre-baby self for quite some time previous to this & had found myself stuck in a slump up until around 9 months postpartum. My days looked the same, I woke up at 5am, prepared x amount of bottles for x amount of hours apart, I'd structure naps & meal prepped like there was no tomorrow; I was like a robot. A mama robot!

Claire smiling, happy with who she is as herself not just a mother.

Something else which has helped regain my confidence in being me is redefining my personal style. It sounds so trivial and materialistic, but filling my wardrobe full of pieces that feel like me & show me off rather than covered me up has worked wonders for my self confidence. My wardrobe actually makes me feel sassy as a mum. Don't get me wrong, I still have plenty of loungewear in there, or mum uniform as I like to call it, but even when I do wear those looser, more casual type styles, I still feel blooming amazing in them.

Fast forward to 18 months (almost) postpartum, I'm fearless in motherhood & I'm fearless being me. This is because I no longer see myself solely as Amelia's mum, I'm seeing me as me. Being a parent is a huge part of me, but I'm no longer defined by motherhood; I see all of me.

I see my flaws.
I see my strengths.
I see my weaknesses.
I see opportunities.
I see freedom.
I see a hard worker.
I see happiness.
I see love.
I see someone comfortable in their own skin.
I see an empowered woman.

I see me as me, not just as a mother.

I knew that becoming a parent would come with a rollercoaster of different emotions, but I in no way thought it'd change the way I looked at myself. Pretty naive of me really. Of course it's going to change how you view yourself, and probably how others view you too. I'd be very surprised if any women out there said they hadn't changed since becoming mothers.

I feel like I'm entering the other side now and that I've opened up a whole new level of empowerment & self love. I'm feeling amazing right now, as myself and as a mum & I'm making it my mission for others to feel the same.

Have you ever felt lost to motherhood? How do you see yourself?

Claire.X

SEEING ME AS ME, NOT AS A MOTHER. Pinterest graphic.

WHAT'S IT REALLY LIKE ATTENDING A VIRTUAL BLOGGING EVENT?

I haven't attended a blogging event in quite a while (it actually turns out that having a baby gets in the way of a lot of things) however I was recently able to attend a virtual event, hosted by House 21.

Claire sat on bed in front of laptop during virtual blogging event.

I was originally introduced to the community builders & event organisers by Lucy Mary, a fellow House 21 contributor who's content I've enjoyed for such a long time now.

House 21 has been on my radar since they held their blogging awards (one of which Lucy won by the way - Yes gal!) in December, however seeing as though the majority of events were being held in Cardiff and Birmingham, it's never something I thought my Yorkshire butt would be able to attend.

Here's where lockdown has played its trump card.

House 21 hasn't let coronavirous stop them; Instead of hosting monthly meet-ups, they're utilising technology and hosting their workshops online. Like normal events they're held on the same days, at the same times, but instead of being location specific, they're topic specific, which for me is absolutely ideal.

House 21 have a wide array of events coming up however the one I chose to attend was 'overcoming the Instagram algorithm'... Because Lord knows I (alongside many others) have a love hate relationship with the social media app.

The event was held in an online chat room sent to us via email the previous day. We had to 'knock' to be let in & once there I could see the faces & blog names of 15 lovely ladies. Being a chat room there was video and microphone functions as well as a chat box which enabled us to join in with conversations & hear from guest speakers.

The features enabled us to interact pretty much the same as we would at a normal event.

Claire sat on bed in front of laptop during virtual blogging event.

We had introductions and chit chats to begin with from House 21's host Melanie, who later introduced us to the events specific guest host Chelsea O'Driscoll. Chelsea is a social media marketing manager and creative consultant making her the perfect host for an event centred around kicking the Instagram algorithms butt!

I think I was a newbie at the event, as Chelsea mentioned that it was nice to see new faces as well as regular attendees; But in no way was I made to feel like a newbie. Chelsea was chatty, charismatic & packed full of positivity, which in todays climate is an absolute godsend!

She explained exactly how the session was going to be ran, which was with a 30 minute presentation from herself and fellow Instagram algorithm butt kicker Christy Llewelyn followed by a live question and answer session to finish.

We were advised to ask questions during the presentation using the chat box, which I felt much more comfortable doing. Sometimes at IRL blogging events I can feel quite overwhelmed and revert back to being the shy girl I was at school. It's something which I hate for holding me back, but admittedly it only happens when I'm in a large group of people. If I'm attending a large scale blogging event my mind can sometimes get the better of me and not want to ask the questions I'm burning to ask, so the chat box feature gets a massive thumbs up from me.

I actually felt more comfortable being in the comfort of my own home, dressed in loungewear with a cup of tea in hand than I would at any IRL blogging event.

Claire sat on bed in front of laptop attending a virtual blogging event.

I enjoyed the virtual blogging event so much, that I've signed up for another in a weeks time. The event is again Instagram based & will be held by Northern Blogs & Co with 3 guest speakers including one of my faves Hannah Briggs.

Have you been involved in any virtual blogging events during lockdown?

Claire.X



FEARLESS IN MOTHERHOOD. FEARLESS BEING ME.

*This post is in collaboration with & features gifted items from Femme Luxe*

I'm fearless in motherhood, but I'm even more fearless being me.

I've been on a journey since becoming a mother, but It's something I've realised and come to appreciate only recently. My journey is one of self discovery & being acceptive of who I am; And when I say 'I', I mean me, not me as Amelia's mum. Me... Claire Mac. 

Claire wearing body con black dress.

Being a mother is part of me, it's a big part of me, but it doesn't define who I am, and I no longer feel guilty about it. I'm an advocate for empowerment in motherhood & am on a mission to provide others with the confidence to feel just as fearless being themselves as they do being a mother.

Claire wearing pink loungewear set.

I haven't always been fearless being me.

I've probably been the furthest away from fearless you could get.

If you asked any of my peers in school how they would describe me they'd either say ask 'Claire who?' and not remember who I was, or they'd say I was the quiet one. I hated being the quiet one, but it was a persona I was labelled with since primary school & a personality trait I was scared to steer from.

One of my earliest memories was winning an award in primary school, and having to walk to the front of the stage in front of the whole school. After thanking the head teacher for my award he bellowed in front of everyone 'she talks'. And although it wasn't the words that stuck with me, it's the tone; The tone of shock, that someone like me could actually form words from my mouth and be a courteous human being.

I can still hear it now.

Claire wearing black body con dress.

As I entered adulthood I was still very shy, but I could absolutely hold my own in my friendship group. I was one of those 'quiet, until you really get to know me' type people, and I was okay with this.

My confidence had definitely grown, however I still struggled in large groups of people, especially in regards to showing my opinions. I'd always let people with louder voices speak over me & never once confronted them. It put me in sticky situations a couple of times & looking back now I wish I'd have just spoken up.

But you live and you learn.

And I think this is where my confidence and level of fearlessness has come from. I'm embracing my flaws, understanding that there are things I'm not so great at, and I'm not letting them make me feel bad about myself anymore.

I'm giving self doubt the middle finger!

Claire wearing pink loungewear set.

This year in particular I've learnt to be fearless being me.

Last year I gave so much of myself to motherhood, that my journey of self discovery & personal development took a back seat. If I'm being honest it more likely that it took a couple of steps back, rather than a back seat.

But isn't that motherhood?

2020 Claire, although cooped up at home embracing lockdown knows herself and accepts herself more than ever... And that's what makes me fearless.

Claire wearing black body con dress.

I'm fearless wearing a slinky body con dress.
I'm fearlessly accepting of my post baby body.
I'm fearless going makeup free.
I'm fearlessly giving zero f*ks.
I'm fearless being underestimated.
I'm fearlessly sticking the middle finger up at self doubt.
I'm fearless admitting my flaws.
I'm fearlessly sassy in bubblegum pink loungewear.
I'm fearless in knowing exactly who I am.
I'm fearlessly saying no to diet culture.
I'm fearless showing parts of me deemed unacceptable.
I'm fearlessly living my best life.
I'm fearless in motherhood.

I'm fearless being me.

Claire wearing pink loungewear set.

Black body con dress*
Pink loungewear set*

How fearless are you being you?

Claire. X


FEARLESS IN MOTHERHOOD. FEARLESS BEING ME. Pinterest graphic

5 BEAUTY PRODUCTS THAT GIVE THE ULTIMATE GLOW.

*This blog posts features gifted items*

I began lockdown life thinking the only way to get through was with no makeup, unruly hair & the comfiest of comfy clothes, however now we're seven weeks in, I'm all about wearing makeup again, in particular beauty products that give the ultimate glow.

Because even if the world isn't having a glow up right now, I am!


I've reorganised pretty much all aspects of my life during lockdown, minus my husband & my child of course (although sometimes I question that decision). Part of my reorganisation includes my makeup and skincare collection, because Lord knows it needs some looking at. During the clear out I've rediscovered some old favourites all of which give the ultimate glow & leave me feeling like a total mum boss!

After weeks of not wearing makeup, getting back in touch with some old faves has been brilliant. It's really made me appreciate the transformation not only in the way my face looks, but my confidence and how I carry myself.

I feel pretty without makeup, but with makeup I feel pretty darn powerful!



These 5 products are giving me the ultimate glow right now.

1. Botanics all bright radiance balm*
I received the Boots Botanics all bright radiance balm in an advent box for Christmas last year, and although Botanics is a range I'm familiar with and have enjoyed, the radiance balm didn't quite make it into my daily makeup bag. Thankfully however, after my Hinching sesh it takes pride of place in my makeup bag and is a product I now rely on for that ultimate glow.
I apply this product after completing my current (& really affordable) skincare routine using my fingers to blend the balm into my previously cleansed skin. I've not tried using a brush to blend the Botanics all bright radiance balm in as it felt much more natural to do it myself & so far so good, it blends really well & leaves my skin being the perfect glowy base.
The product has a slight rosy nude tone to it which means even if you just use the radiance balm & nothing else, you're still provided with a sheen of coverage.
I love this product, just as I do a lot of other Botanics products & I'll definitely be repurchasing the radiance balm when this one runs out.

2. No7 skin illuminator*
It seems that Boots were really pushing that winter glow last year because in the same advent calendar box I received the No7 skin illuminator.
I like to use the skin illuminator either as an illuminating primer or mixed in with my foundation to give that extra glow, depending on how much time Amelia allows me to get ready. I'm currently using the Body Shop matte clay shin clarifying foundation because I love the coverage it provides, however it leaves quite a matte finish, but with the No7 skin illuminator it gives such a boost and leaves my skin with that holiday type glow. I love it!
It's not something I tend to do, but you could also use the No7 skin illuminator as a highlight, brushing a light amount over the cheekbones. The only reason I don't use this purely as a highlighter (and it's a boujee A.F reason) is that I already have plenty of other highlighting products I like to use to give my cheekbones that extra pop & ultimate glow.


3. Nude by Nature touch of glow highlight stick*
To give my cheekbones the ultimate glow I always begin with the Nude by Nature touch of glow highlight stick, simply because it's the easiest thing in the world to use. I love applying makeup & playing around with it, but honestly some of the best products in my opinion are the simplest!
I literally twist the touch of glow highlight stick up and draw two lines on the tops of my cheekbones before buffing in with the real techniques stippling brush. I feel very camo-girl doing it! I'm not sure if the stippling brush is the most appropriate type of applicator but I like how it doesn't blend the product 100% into the skin and leaves the majority of the product sitting on top of my foundation.
I have the shade opal, which is more of a rosy/champagne tone than opal but I think it's the most perfect, subtly warming shade for me.

4. Illamasqua beyond powder highlighter.
To give my cheekbones that extra pop & the ultimate glow I've been using the Illamasqua beyond powder highlighter in the shade Deighty. It's been in my collection for quite some time now after opening it in a Look Fantastic advent calendar, and although I knew it was going to be a product I'd enjoy using, for some reason I didn't reach for it.
I apply the beyond powder highlighter using the Look Fantastic fan highlighter brush over the Nude by Nature tough of glow highlight stick; The phrase 'go hard or go home' comes to mind, but I really love the ultimate glow it gives

5. Bellapierre shimmer roll*
A shimmer roll is something I at first thought should have stayed in the 90's however after experimenting with different ways to use the Bellapierre shimmer roll, I've decided it needs to take pride of place in my makeup bag. It can't not!
The shimmer roll can be used in a number of ways, however me being me, likes to use it in the easiest way possible, which I find is on my eyes. After I've applied my eyeshadow I like to give a couple of sweeps of the Bellapierre shimmer roll to 'jujh' them up a bit. I don't even really do anything afterwards, I just let the product sit there to dry for a few seconds and then get on with everyday life.
I'd never have thought I'd like a glittery eye makeup look, as everything I own is very very matte, but I love the transformation this little product gives. It's a real beauty!



Although I'm not getting dressed up for anyone but myself, I'm really loving getting back into makeup & experimenting more with products I wouldn't necessarily have used before. I didn't think I'd be so into a glowy makeup look, but here we are, lockdown makes us do crazy things... And this is mine! Wild right?

Have you had a rearrange of your makeup collection? What are your favourite products to give the ultimate glow?

Claire.X


5 BEAUTY PRODUCTS THAT GIVE THE ULTIMATE GLOW. Pinterest graphic.

5 THINGS I'VE LEARNT DURING LOCKDOWN AS A PARENT.

Day 532 in lockdown & I'm feeling all kinds of reflective about my time spent in isolation, focusing especially on what I've learnt about myself as a parent.

I've definitely felt the rollercoaster of emotions of being a parent during lockdown, but I finally feel like I'm at a place where the positives outweigh the negatives.

Claire wearing pink crop top.

Lockdown itself and the reasons behind being in isolation are unnerving; For me it's the fear of the unknown as I still feel like there's so much about coronavirus that we just don't know about yet & I find it all really alarming. Dan & I are both on furlough with neither of us 100% sure we'll have jobs to go back to once this is all over and done with - Whenever that may be. I think it's naive to believe that once lockdown ends we're all going to go back to normal, back to our usual jobs, living our regular lives - I'm convinced Covid isn't going to work like that.

That being said, I do feel positive (on a whole) about the situation we're in. We've got so much more family time now; It's time we'd never make the most of & time we'll probably never get again, so I'm 100% in the mindset of making the most of the situation we're in. We're enjoying seeing our daughter grow, especially as she's changing so much at the moment; I'm just so grateful we get to witness it all first hand, instead of from a WhatsApp message from our childminder.

I presume the vast majority of us are feeling reflective right now, whether that be with your employment, dreams or aspirations or in my case what I've learnt about myself as a parent. We may not all the in the same boat, but we're sure as hell in the same storm & I'd like to think my reflections as a parent can help others, no matter what their reflections are right now.

Mother and daughter looking at each other.

5 things I've learnt during lockdown as a parent.

1. Kids are resilient, but so are you.
Resilience is the ability to bounce back from stress, challenges or trauma, it's something which children are renowned for having, but I bet if you look a little closer to home, you're pretty darn resilient too.  Look at how we're pulling together & how we're supporting one another in our communities, we're actually amazing & we need to celebrate it.
I'm big on quotes over on my Pinterest and the saying 'you've got through 100% of the bad days you've had' has definitely gotten me through. Being a parent you have to be resilient & pull yourself through the sometimes really awful days, so I've been applying that mindset to my lockdown life & it's 100% worked for me.

2. It's okay to miss the 'old me'.
Gosh the days are long aren't they! Pre-lockdown I was so used to having my parenting day split up by going to work, but these days I haven't got a choice but to be a parent 100% of the time. And I mean this in the best way possible, but I really enjoyed my time 'being me' at work, the me who wasn't a mum, the me who could put herself first for a few hours out of the day.
I miss the old me & at the beginning of lockdown I used to beat myself up over feeling the way I did, but now I've come to realise that it's totally okay & in no way reflects the way I feel about my daughter.

3. You don't have to do it all.
I think the biggest issue for me when lockdown was first introduced & furlough life began was that as a parent  I felt like I had to do it all. This added weight on my shoulders however came as absolutely no surprise to me, as I'm 100% that mama that rushes around like a crazy person during nap time trying to get 101 different jobs done... Why would lockdown be any different?
I've definitely learnt to chill a bit more over the last couple of weeks and instead of feeling like I need to be preparing the next activity to keep my toddler occupied during lockdown, I'm putting myself first. These days I take myself outside, leaving my phone indoors meaning I can fully enjoy a coffee in the back garden, listening to absolute nothingness around me... And it's bliss, I 100% recommend you try it.

4. You'll have good days & bad days.
Understanding that you'll have good days and bad days through lockdown is so important. I think it's imperative when you are having a bad day to know that it is just one day, and that tomorrow could and probably will be totally different. The bad days you have shape you, and I 100% believe you learn from them & become better for having them, even though it really doesn't feel like it at the time.
I used this mindset when I was in labour; Yes, it was hard, yes it was painful, but it was just one day (almost two) out of all of the days I'll ever have & I 100% put my positive birth story down to this mindset.

5. Giggles get you through.
Oh Lord, the giggles can get you through anything! And I don't just mean the laughs from my daughter, although these are the absolute best laughs, I mean all forms of chuckles...
I've howled over FaceTime with friends reminiscing on the days of underage drinking and telling our parents we were staying at each others house when really we were staying at our latest squeeze's. I've been silly with my husband & acted life goofs embracing each others weirdness. It's been brilliant, and it's so nice to let loose and forget responsibilities and pressures of day to day life!

6 month old girl sitting in garden chair.

Who knows how much longer we'll be in lockdown for? All I know is that I'm going to spend the rest of my time with a positive mindset & enjoy the extra time we have as a family together. I'm blooming in my own way & doing my own thing in my own little bubble - I hope you guys are too!

How are you feeling about lockdown? Have your feelings changed over the previous six weeks?

Claire.X


5 things I've learnt during lockdown as a parent. Pinterest graphic.

REVERTING BACK TO MUM UNIFORM, BUT THIS TIME IT'S DIFFERENT.

*This post is in collaboration with & features gifted items from Femme Luxe*

Mum uniform is something I'm very familiar with; It's the uniform I wore on maternity leave & it's the uniform I've reverted back to wearing now we're in lockdown.

Mum uniform [noun]:
Lounge wear/PJ's usually covered in a child's bodily (amongst other) fluids, commonly worn across multiple days.


Loungewear set from Femme Luxe.

I had a moment of reinvention when it came to personal style as I was nearing the end of maternity leave & am now at a stage where I'm comfortable again in my body and I'm pretty self assured with what I choose to wear. I've got a wardrobe full of pieces I love; Pieces I'd actually love to leave this house in, however seeing as though we're currently in lockdown & unable to leave the house, I've reverted back into my mum uniform ways.

I've reverted back to mum uniform, but this time it's different - I'm feeling myself!

Loungewear set from Femme Luxe.

It's strange thinking back to the Spring 2019 version of myself compared to now. I was a new mum struggling with the fourth trimester & was very much in the mind frame of thinking 'I'm just a mum'... Spring 2020 Claire is very different, yes I am a parent before everything, but I'm also so much more than that; I'm still my own person, I've got my own skills and passions & you better believe I'm brining the sass.... Even if I am in mum uniform.

I'm big on female empowerment & full heartedly believe we should be supporting one another like we used to when we were single & drunk in the nightclub bathroom. Thankfully I've been surrounded by a whole team of inspirational women & have built the most amazing online mama community full of wonderful ladies who have helped me, and pushed me into feeling as 'Beyonce' as I do.

Loungewear set from Femme Luxe.

Last year I was wearing mum uniform as an armour to hide myself away and to try and disguise my new postpartum body.  It's so strange to think of myself as I was back then, I actually feel like a different person.

I'd never have thought last year that I'd feel as self assured as I do today... I mean I'm not a confident person, I can't get up and talk in front of a room full of people, that's not me, but I know that & I embrace that... And that's what I believe is confidence and growth!

Growth is growth, no matter how big or small!

Loungewear set from Femme Luxe.

My mum uniform collection has grown by another two sets from Femme Luxe Finery & I feel fantastic in them both. I actually can't wait to properly leave the house in them... Let's cross our fingers!

The camel lounge wear set is probably my favourite as I prefer the boxier fit to the top, the leggings aren't super tight either which is a bonus. I knew as soon as I put the set on that I'd need it in every colour available, luckily for me the set also comes in grey and black. I actually can't get enough of this duo right now, and have worn it across multiple days since it arriving... I mean it is mum uniform after all.

The long sleeved black lounge wear set feels a little more casual because of the materialI love that the leggings aren't high waisted! They're actually a bit of a god send to be honest; I wear high waisted trousers a lot, and sometimes for the old mum tum it's just not all that comfortable, so these make for a really lovely change. It's actually quite refreshing feeling like I'm not hiding my stomach.

Loungewear set from Femme Luxe.

I'm pretty well stocked now, but I'm still on the hunt for a couple more lounge wear sets to add to my mum uniform collection. I don't think I'll ever tire of wearing my comfies & the grey & black version of the short sleeved lounge wear set I'm wearing is definitely on my wish list; I'm 100% that person who when they find something they like, it gets bought in every colour available.

Have you added any more lounge wear sets to your collection since lockdown?

Claire.X

REVERTING BACK TO MUM UNIFORM, BUT THIS TIME IT'S DIFFERENT. Pinterest graphic.

40 ACTIVITIES TO KEEP YOUR TODDLER OCCUPIED DURING LOCKDOWN.

Lockdown is an alarming & daunting time for anybody, but the thought of having to occupy a toddler with activities, increases the pressures tenfold. Here are 40+ activities to keep your toddler occupied during lockdown, even if it is only for 10 minutes so you can have a hot cup of coffee.

Toddler indoor play, holes in a shoebox.

Inside activities.

Holes in a shoebox - This has probably been the biggest hit for my toddler during lockdown, she loves sitting with the shoebox between her legs pulling pipe cleaners out of the holes & putting them back in again... I even popped a few ball pit balls in the box for extra sensory play, which she looses her marbles over that.

Treasure box - My daughter loves taking things in and out of a treasure box. It doesn't have to be just toys either, it could be buttons of dried pasta perhaps, anything to keep their little hands busy.

Spaghetti & food colouring - Toddlers love mess don't they, it's like they're drawn to it (unfortunately); Lay a tuff tray  or bin bags out and surround them in spaghetti and get them sifting it through their hands, they'll love it I'm sure!

Cloud dough - Another potentially messy activity to keep your toddler occupied during lockdown. Cloud dough can be made by mixing plain flour with baby oil & measurements can be played with to create a stiff dough or a sand type texture.

Rescue the toys - Hold small toys hostage by cellotaping them into a baking tray, your toddler will instinctively try and reuse them, only it'll take them a few minutes to get their head around the dilemma & you may manage that infamous cup of hot coffee.

Toys in jelly - Similar to the previous activity, only messier... And tastier!

Bottle shakers - Shakers have been a firm favourite in our house since Amelia was a baby & we did baby sensory classes. We have a couple of small bottles filled with water, pasta, glitter & pompoms and they've always been a hit, I should probably make some more.

Elastic bands around a tissue box - Otherwise known as a makeshift guitar. Unleash your toddlers musical side with a bit of elastic band plucking... Feel free to blame me if they love it too much & you don't get a minutes peace.

Toddler hiding under make shift den.

Indoor soft play - This is another one of Amelia's favourites; I pull all of the cushions off the sofas, pop them on the floor and let her climb all over them knowing she's going to be 100% safe. She loves running from one end of the room to the other across the sofa cushions, plus it gives me chance to hoover down the back of the sofas. I dare you to check yours! Mine we're minging!

Making a den - A simple den can be made by hanging a throw between pieces of furniture, or if you want to be a little extra you can use sofa cushions (after you've used them for soft play). This is another one of my toddlers favourites as she loves playing peekaboo & this is the perfect activity to do so.

Copy the king - Please tell me you get the Hey Duggee reference! We walk behind our toddler copying her every move, whether it be squatting, falling or twirling... And because it makes us laugh, it makes her laugh too.

Cleaning their toys - We've popped Amelia's toys in her baby bath with a few bubbles and she's loved swishing them around.

Ball pit - During lockdown we dug out our toddlers ball pit, something which hasn't seen the light of day for a good six months or so but she loved jumping in and flinging the balls around everywhere.... She even tidied up after herself!

Colander & pipe cleaners - This classic is a given for keeping your toddler occupied & out of trouble.

Baking - If you can bake without your toddler eating half of the ingredients, then well done you!.. But in all seriousness baking has been brilliant for us, plus it's a lovely little activity to bond over.

Colouring - All toddlers love colouring right? How long they last is another question, but if you can get a couple of jobs done while you're toddlers colouring away to their hearts content, I'd call that a win!

Toddler outdoor playing with pebbles.

Outside activities.

Pebbles in a plant pot - Who'd have thought this would've been such a hit! There's really not much to it, other than putting pebbles in a plant pot, taking them out, and putting them back in again.

Water table - Water tables are brilliant however if you don't have one a baking tray filled with water popped on a low level table has the same effect. Amelia loves splashing & ended up soaked within five minutes. She was 100% living her best life!

Mud kitchen - We don't actually have a mud kitchen for our toddler, however if we did I know for a fact she would love it! She loves anything messy & I know it'd keep her occupied fr such a long time, I'm just putting it off because of the clean up operation.

Gardening - My toddler has helped with quite a lot of gardening during lock down, I mean you've got to keep an eye on her to make sure she's not pulling flower heads off, but generally she's loved being outside & helping mum and dad. It's been just the cutest!


Toddler and puppy sitting on picnic blanket outside.

Picnic blanket - Is anyone else's toddler as obsessed with picnic blankets as mine? There doesn't even have to be a picnic there... As soon as we lay the blanket out she bounds over to use it as a dance floor before crashing out in a weird breakdance style fall. I really need to video it!

Paddling pool - On the sunnier days, we've had the paddling pool out. Amelia loves anything water related, so this is an easy one for us to keep her occupied.

Paddling pool with ball pit balls - Paddling pool 2.0

Paddling pool with ball pit balls & bubble bath - Paddling pool 3.0

Nature hunting - While we've been gardening, our toddler has developed a penchant for nature, she loves looking at worms, prodding worms & picking worms up... I mean, we're a little grossed out by it, but if she likes carrying worms around, who's to stop her.

The hose pipe - I don't know why, but my child loves being chased around the garden with the hose pipe. Obviously the water flow isn't on full pelt as I'm pretty sure it'd blow her away, but she loves being sprayed with the water, it gets so many giggles out of her.

Bring the inside out - It sounds super simple, but sometimes just playing with inside toys, outside gives them a whole new lease of life & will occupy your tiny human long enough for you to grab a hot drink. We've been taking things like the walker & rocking horse, things that she doesn't normally bother with inside & she's fallen back in love with them outside.

Toddler playing with walker outside.

Crafty activities.

Making binoculars out of toilet roll tubes - You know after you've hoarded all of those toilet rolls *insert eye roll here* why not make them into something. As my toddler is still only relatively young there's no point building the Eiffel Tower out of loo rolls (which I could totally do btw), instead we've made binoculars; A simple alternative which is sure to keep your little one occupied.

Drawing on a roll of paper - Amelia loves drawing and I've found the easiest thing to do is buy a roll of Kraft paper, lay it out on the laminate flooring & letting her loose with it... Much more fun than standard colouring books.

Ripping up paper
- After they've drawn on their roll of paper, why not get them to rip it up. My toddler loves ripping things, in fact I'm sure she'd rather rip up and destroy paper rather than draw on it.

Water mat - I've currently got a water mat on order & am waiting for it to arrive; I can't wait to see Amelia's face glow in amazement as she watches the water pens turn the mat into colours.

Potato printing - Potato printing is a classic, although it's something we've not done yet as we'd much rather use them for chips!

Make cards for loved ones - It's a bummer not being able to see family, but it's even more of a bummer your family not being able to see your child. To try and bridge the gap we're going to be making hand & footprint cards to send off to our nearest and dearest.

Colouring cardboard boxes - I saw this on Pinterest, but if you have a cardboard box big enough, pop your toddler inside with a bunch of colouring crayons and let them make their marks.

Stickers - I bought Amelia a sticker book not too long ago & although she doesn't enjoy using the actual book, she loves sticking the stickers on pieces of paper.

Pat mat - A pat mat is a laminate pouch ironed on all four edges filled with water and pieces of confetti or small toys. We made ours after a baby sensory class & Amelia's loved patting it, beating it & moving all of the shapes around in the pouch.

Toddler watching Moana on Disney+

Digital activities.

Disney + - As much as we all want to be 'Pinterest mums' creating wonderful arts & crafts to keep our toddlers busy, sometimes popping them in front of the telly is 100% okay. I'm not the biggest Disney lover out there, but we've watched so many films whilst snuggling on the sofa, it's been lovely, and I've sussed that Moana is definitely her fave!

Dancing to youtube videos - It's only in the last month or so that my daughter's started 'dancing' or doing what's otherwise known as stomping around in circles. She has her favourites, but we could literally put any form of music video on the telly and she's straight up dancing; It's the most gorgeous thing to watch.

Facetiming grandparents - It's sad to think that Amelia hasn't seen her grandparents for four weeks now, especially seeing as though she's changing so much now & learning so many different things. Thanks to FaceTime, Amelia's nana has been able to see her running around in the garden & has heard her say so many different words.

Ipad games - Before becoming a parent I thought I would't use the TV or iPads to occupy my child... Now I have my toddler however it's a different story. I do try and limit screen time, but I 100% look at them as an educational tool. We have a bubble popping game on Dans iPad aimed at toddlers & Amelia loves pressing & popping them as they're moving around the screen - Amazing for hand eye coordination.

Toddler playing on picnic blanket.

I hope these activities will keep your toddlers busy & gives you mama's a bit of a break, because lord knows we need one! How have you been coping so far during lockdown?

PS. Did anyone actually believe me when I said I could make the Eiffel Tower out of loo rolls?

Claire.X

40 ACTIVITIES TO KEEP YOUR TODDLER OCCUPIED DURING LOCKDOWN. Pinterest graphic.

SPRING/SUMMER ADDITIONS TO MY 1 YEAR OLD DAUGHTER'S WARDROBE.

*This blog post is in collaboration and features gifted products from Lavender Sun*

It's safe to say that my daughter has a way better wardrobe than I have. I find it so much easier picking items of clothing out for her than I do myself - I think it's part of being a parent, wouldn't you agree?

With the change in seasons and the arrival of some spring/summer sunshine I thought I'd scourer the Internet in search of some new additions to my one year old daughter's wardrobe.

Lavender Sun Little Miss Foxy bodysuit.

Foxy little lady bodysuit.
You can't go wrong with bodysuits, especially during the warmer months because sometimes it's all our little ones will be wearing. I loved the 'foxy little lady' slogan on the Lavender Sun onesie as it shows my daughter's already way too sassy attitude, plus she's already got a pair of rust coloured leggings which I know will match this little foxy perfectly.

Plain white bodysuits.
Something Amelia was (actually) in need of for the spring & summer months was plain bodysuits with thin, spaghetti style straps. It doesn't happen very often, but when I put her in a nice dress, I don't like having sleeves poking out and ruining her look... You know, because she's so 'fashion!' The three pack from H&M will be really versatile and I just know she'll get lots of wear out of them.

Leopard print leggings.
Leopard print is a neutral, I don't care what you say... And I love it, therefore Amelia has to wear it, because that's how parenting works isn't it. I bought these in the size up as I wanted my daughter to get lots of wear out of them & it turns out they fit her rotund little tum perfectly!

Leopard print jumpsuit from H&M

Leopard print jumpsuit.
More leopard print, I can't help it; This time it's in the form of a jumpsuit from H&M. Again I bought this in the next size up & although it's probably a little too big for her to wear now, I can still pop her in it and get away with the sizing. Kids always look cute in oversized clothes anyway don't they.

Yellow geometric dress.
The yellow geometric dress is a bit of a cheat because Amelia had it when she was much younger; I think she had it in aged 3-6 months and we loved it so much that we had to get it again. Next do this dress in various different colours & it's such a bargain, so it was an absolute no brainer for us! In fact, I think it's an essential in any little girls wardrobe.

Floral summer dress.
We were very kindly gifted the summer floral dress by one of Amelia's friends at the childminders, her mum didn't like the style of it, but we love it, so it's a win win situation. FYI This is the type of dress I'd want to pair the spaghetti strapped bodysuits with. I love the skirt on this dress as it's super girly & I'm sure we'll get a load of twirls out of it from her this spring/summer.

Stack of girls clothes.

So there's six new additions to my 1 year old daughters wardrobe, you can guess how many I have can't you... Yup, a big fat zero, but I really wouldn't have it any other way. I love picking up new pieces for my daughter & truth be told, she'll probably end up with a few more pieces before the season ends. #SorryNotSorry

Have you made many additions to your little one's wardrobe this spring/summer?

Claire.X

MY LESS THAN £5, THREE PRODUCT SKINCARE ROUTINE.

Yes, you read that correctly, I'm currently using three products in my skincare routine that all together cost less than a fiver! What is this sorcery you ask? Let me tell you.

The price of my three product skincare routine equates to a takeout coffee... And that's the life I'm about. I'm not strict when it comes to frugality however if I can save a bit of dollar by using a product  or service I actually enjoy, then I'm going to go in all guns blazing.

Lacura skincare products,

The products I'm referencing are from Lacura, Aldi's very own luxury for less cruelty free skincare range.

Why Lacura?

I've not tried anything from Lacura before & I'll be honest and say I picked up my three skincare products on a total whim. With all that's going on & only being able to venture out to the supermarket I thought I'd treat myself to a few new beauty bits, plus it made my (baby free) trip to Aldi feel like more of a day out; The decision to buy really was as unsophisticated as that.

Sometimes I think the purchases you don't intend to buy can be the best ones.


Lacura skincare.

My 3 Lacura skincare products.

It's the Lacura Q10 renew day cream (£1.45) which first started this whole trying out of new skincare products. Would you believe I'd actually ran out of day cream? In a flipping pandemic too! (First world problems right?)
I was drawn to Lacura's Q10 range as it's designed to help the skin from prematurely ageing, using the finest, results driven ingredients. Now let's be real, I've not got wrinkles, but what I do have is eye bags (for days) and very tired, dull skin, something the Q10 range promotes to fight against... So in the words of Anto Sharp it was going 'straight in my basket'. Lacura states the recommended age range for this product is between 30 and 50 years old, so I'm at the very (very very) beginning of what's suggested, however I'd like to think that even if you're younger or older it would still have some affect on tired skin.

Because I'd bought the day cream, I of course had to pick up the Lacura Q10 renew night cream (£1.45).  I'm not sure if that's the done thing, but I thought why not, especially considering the price point. The pricing of the two moisturisers together is still less than what I'd usually pay for skincare products. The night cream, along with all Lacura products are cruelty free and contains a skin renewing retinol complex and nourishing avocado oil, two ingredients which very much appealed to me.

The third item, I chose was the Lacura moisturising face wash (£0.85), maybe I should have mentioned this one first as it's the product I begin my skincare routine with, but I wanted to take you on my journey... Or my day out to Aldi. In all honesty I don't usually buy face washes like this one as I'm such a big fan of The Body Shop's Camomile Cleansing Butter for cleansing my skin however again similar to the Lacura Q10 renew night cream I thought why the hell not. I picked this one up over the Lacura smoothing face scrub as the label 'moisturising' really appealed to me, and if there's anything my skin needs right now it's moisture!


Lacura skincare.

Thoughts on my 3 Lacura skincare products.

The Lacura Q10 renew day cream is lightweight with an almost whipped like texture to it meaning it's super easy to apply and the littlest amount goes the longest way. I knew I'd get on with this product from the get go as I loved how moisturised and rejuvenated it made my skin feel even after the first application.

The Lacura Q10 renew night cream is much thicker in texture, as you'd expect. It takes a little more effort to sink into the skin, but the feeling of nourishment can be felt right through to the next morning. I've found that when I'm cleansing my skin on a morning, my face still feels moisturised and well looked after, something I didn't really expect from a product that costs less than a Greggs steak bake... Man, I miss Greggs!

Speaking of cleansing, I liked the Lacura moisturising face wash, I just didn't love it, and the reason for that is that I didn't feel like it did what it said on the tin. The product is a brilliant cleanser and gets rid of makeup and daily grime really easily, however something I didn't feel it does, is moisturise. Don't get me wrong, I understand some cleansers and face washes can be quite drying as they're eradicating any impurities, but I really wasn't expecting my skin to feel as tight and squeaky clean as it did using this. I thought there'd be a bit more leeway with a product which advertises itself as being moisturising.

Lacura skincare products,

My skincare results from using Lacura?

I've been using my three Lacura skincare products religiously in my routine now for the last few weeks & I have to say I'm impressed... Although I'm equally as impressed that I've managed to stick to a skincare routine as I am with the products themselves. My face definitely appears more radiant and I'm much more confident on those no makeup days... I'd even go outside with no makeup on if I had the choice.

Lacura skincare.

Would I buy Lacura skincare products again?

Yes, yes & one more time for the people at the back, YES! I'm so impressed with the moisturisers that I've already been scanning the Aldi website for what else they have to offer. My store doesn't seem to stock as much as what's available online, but already on my shopping list is the Lacura moisture boost gel moisturiser and the Lacura miracle oil spray, plus whatever else I can get my hands on because everything's so damn affordable!

Have you tried anything from the Lacura range?

Claire.X

MY LESS THAN £5, THREE PRODUCT SKINCARE ROUTINE. Pinterest graphic.